[Paleopsych] Jihad and the petri dish--Osama's reproductive strategy
HowlBloom at aol.com
HowlBloom at aol.com
Sun Jul 18 23:46:02 UTC 2004
I'm not a good tactician, so can't comment on whether decapitating militant
Islam over and over again is good strategy.
But the research I reviewed for The Lucifer Principle, my first book, hints
that there may be a flipside to the idea that, "No group produces more than 5%
or so of alpha animals."
That second side may be this: Every group produces 5% or so of alpha animals.
Or, to put it differently, leaders create groups, but groups also create
Remove the leaders from a group and, if the group retains its cohesion, the
group will generate new commanders, generals, and generalissimos. In
experiments on human groups, if I remember them correctly, if you gathered a bunch of
beta males and put them together, a leader would emerge. So would two
sidekicks to the leader--a lieutenenant/enforcer and a comedic buddy.
If you put a bunch of ants together without a leader or a hierarchical
structure, a hierarchical structure would eventually emerge. If you removed the
queen from an ant colony, the workers would sense the absence of thesuppressor
hormones her majesty sent out to keep the workers in their place.
Several workers would undergo a metamorphosis. Their sexual hormones would
rev up and turn them into potential egg-bearing queen candidates. Then the
candidates would fight it out to see which one would take over the regal
chamber--the huge room in the colony where a small squadron of handmaidens tended the
swelling queen so she could turn herself into a monstrous giant--an
If this principle holds true for al Qaeda, removing leaders will help but
won't necessarily wipe al Qaeda away. Al Qaeda is now a group whose legend is
competing on the battlefield of history. It's competing for an endurance that
goes beyond one generation or two.
The way to make al Qaeda go away is to defeat it so dramatically and so
persistently that it comes to be associated with failure. The taint of persistent
failure is a repulsion cue. It drives followers and new recruits away.
The trick is this. Al Qaeda has a perceptual antidote to defeat. Every time
its members are killed, their death is defined as a triumph. Each death is
turned into martyrdom. Martyrs are bonding devices. They are attraction cues.
They're sources of publicity that bring a group sympathy...and notoriety.
Christianity used the same device to spread its fame and to gain converts in
the first and second centuries ad. Christian enthusiasts literally begged
Roman judges to send them into the stadiums with starving animals and to rocket
them directly to Christ's side in heaven via the liftoff pad of martyrdom.
Sorry, the animals and the martyrdom were what they begged for. The image of the
liftoff pad with liquid engines fueled by blood is mine. Howard
What does one do when an enemy upends the rules and turns humiliation into a
recruitment tool? Howard
In a message dated 7/18/2004 6:43:29 PM Eastern Standard Time,
shovland at mindspring.com writes:
If our leaders had kept their eye on the ball and had hunted Osama
down, we would have fewer problems. Perhaps a regime change will
return us to the correct path.
No group produces more than 5% or so of alpha animals, so if you
iterate decapitation enough times, the other side will run out of leaders.
Author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of
History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the
Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York University; Faculty
Member, The Graduate Institute
Founder: International Paleopsychology Project; founding board member: Epic
of Evolution Society; founding board member, The Darwin Project; founder: The
Big Bang Tango Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American
Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, Academy
of Political Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International
Society for Human Ethology; advisory board member: Youthactivism.org; executive
editor -- New Paradigm book series.
For information on The International Paleopsychology Project, see:
for two chapters from
The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History,
For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang
to the 21st Century, see www.howardbloom.net
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